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There are quite a few symptoms that are immediately apparent after a birth injury, but keep in mind that these symptoms may also indicate other health conditions. Always consult with a physician before assuming your child has a brain injury.
Other symptoms may not necessarily appear as an action from the baby, but instead can be detected via health issues. For instance, the baby might not be exhibiting behaviors outwardly that something is wrong, but their general health is communicating that something is wrong.
In most instances, infants may demonstrate symptoms that are both health-related and action-related, as well as muscle and bone-related symptoms.
Muscle and Bone Symptoms:
As mentioned earlier, not all symptoms are immediately apparent. Although a birth injury may have happened just before, during, or after delivery, the body takes a while to demonstrate its symptoms, sometimes into toddler-hood. The common birth injury symptoms that appear during the toddler years include:
Infants, toddlers, and children who frequently miss developmental milestones is an indication of possible birth injuries. In order to understand which milestones your child may be missing, it’s important to understand what development milestones are and the average age in which most children reach the milestones:
2 to 4 months old:
6 to 9 months old:
1 years old:
18 months old:
2-3 years old:
4-5 years old:
Keep in mind that only a physician can diagnose disabilities and disorders. If your child is behind in developmental milestones, it doesn’t automatically mean they’ve suffered a birth injury. However, it’s important to get medical help if your child is consistently missing milestones, especially if your child is also showing other birth injury symptoms.
Not all birth injury symptoms will appear during infancy and the toddler years. In fact, some children live with a birth injury unbeknownst to them and their parents until they enter school. Symptoms that surface years later are typically cognitive-related, such as problems with fine motor skills, developmental disabilities such as Asperger’s syndrome, ADD/ADHD, and autism.
Although there is controversy surrounding how ADD, Asperger’s, and autism develop, experts have suggested that at least 60 to 80% of children who experience ADD/ADHD also experienced some form of minor birth trauma during delivery. This most often occurs when birth-assisting tools such as forceps or a vacuum extraction are used. When infants are delivered with the help of birthing tools, their heads are typically pulled backwards, similar to whiplash. Meanwhile, several nerves in the infant’s head are compressed, and in some instance, the cranial membranes are torn, which hinders the fluids to the part of the brain that controls emotions and behavior.
In addition, a study performed by the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine states that difficulties during delivery are linked to autism. Neonatal anemia, meconium aspiration, incompatible blood types between mother and baby, and infants with a low birth weight all factor into the risk of developing autism. Maternal hemorrhage doubles the risk.
“Reduced oxygen supply, during labor, during delivery, during the prenatal period, during early infancy, could influence autism risk,” said epidemiologist Hannah Gardener, ScD.